He meditated his way to another major at the 103rd US PGA championship. Mister Mickelson’s fabulous Phil show delivers his sixth major achievement and becomes at 50 years of age the oldest player to win a major. Nobody predicted this outcome, not Brandel Chamblee, not Rich Lerner, and not Justin Leonard. Truth be told most pundits had written Leftie off and saw him going to pasture on the champion’s tour. Phil Mickelson has always had the ability to surprise and this incredible achievement at Kiawah Island is up there with the biggest shock in golf at the pointy end of competition.
Mickelson’s Exciting Duel with Brooks Koepka
Mickelson’s duel with Brooks Koepka entertained viewers right from the start as the lead swung back and forth like a wind chime in a cyclone. The dour Koepka with bulging biceps never gave in but couldn’t go with Phil over the last six holes on the back nine. I watched Phil taking deep breaths during those last few clutch holes and we all could feel the tension in the air. The Kiawah Island Ocean course could strip shots from a golfer like a mugger in Central Park. We all watched the wind blow over the four days. Golfers were vulnerable like never before.
Could a 50 YO Really Get It Done?
We all knew Phil’s history and felt the possibility of errant shots like a large black hole in the pit of our stomachs. This course, the conditions, and the headline act had us all sitting on the edge of our couches. The question whether a 50 YO could actually win this thing was hanging in the air. Tom Watson had fallen short at The Open, as had Greg Norman in the final round in a similar situation. Would a young gun step up and spoil the party? Can you really turn back time without the assistance of Cher and a battleship or two?
One for the Ages
Mister Mickelson’s fabulous Phil show did get it done, with streams of on-course fans flooding the final fairway. They saw Phil propel his nine iron onto the eighteenth green with a two-shot lead. It was like a scene from old time golf. I thought of Bobby Jones, Francis Ouimet, and the Great Triumvirate. Phil Mickelson has joined the all-time golfing legends with a performance that will be remembered down through the ages. Kiawah was tough, too tough for the vast majority of this elite field. It took a special golfer with a rare pedigree and level of experience absent from the youthful majority.